Ford Fiesta, which is being used as an in-wheel motor mule

Ford is looking to find ways for more folks to drive sideways, and we’re not talking “Tokyo Drift” variety. The US automaker is working with Germany-based Schaeffler at developing in-wheel motors and is showing off a concept version of a modified Fiesta in Belgium this week.

Ford’s eWheelDrive concept car has motors in both rear wheels, which saves space (in the area that used to be the engine compartment), cuts weight and allows for better urban mobility by allowing greater turning flexibility in the wheels themselves. Ford says this sort of in-wheel technology could allow a car the size of today’s two-seater to accommodate four people and aims to have two more in-wheel concept cars out by 2015.

Ford joins a growing group of automakers and component companies researching in-wheel motors as a way to cut weight, boost fuel economy and save space. Michigan-based Protean Electric, which last year received $84 million in funding, earlier this month showed off a production version of its in-wheel electric-drive drivetrain system.

Check out Ford’s press release below.

Related GalleryFord Fiesta 1.0-liter Ecoboost (Euro-spec)

Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter Ecoboost front three-quarterFord Fiesta 1.0-liter Ecoboost frontFord Fiesta 1.0-liter Ecoboost side profileFord Fiesta 1.0-liter Ecoboost rearFord Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoboostFord Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoboostFord Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoboostFord Fiesta 1.0-liter Ecoboost

By Danny King

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